a mid-summer tart.

around the time that tim and i started dating, we discovered a tart cherry tree in the front yard of my rental house {as well as some heavily laden cherry trees on the property of a rather eccentric abandoned building that we definitely partook from}. the result: a version of this tart, which we lovingly named our early summer tart. our favorite version included our tart cherries and local blueberries and peaches.

 i love my memories of sweating in the hot summer kitchen making dough, while tim stirred the "gelatinous fruit" over the stove and then sharing the results with friends, neighbors, and in-town visitors. we had a business plan to slang pieces of our hyper-local tart downtown for an exorbitant price after the bars let out, but failed to make that happen. hmm... now that i think about it, we could use a little extra cash these days.

last Saturday, we had our HOUSEWARMING PARTY! sadly, we took no pictures, but our little house was overflowing with new and old{ish} friends, colliding circles that remind me what a small city we live in, a few shrieking toddlers, and lots of delicious potluck dishes. we had so so much fun - it was good for our souls be surrounded by friends and to be thankful for our far-from-perfect life here. it was a neat realization of how settled and at home we are here in charlottesville. my heart has expanded for the people i've met here so far, and it's hard to think i've only been here for barely over a year.

it felt only right to share our favorite fruit tart, with the local fruit bounty of the heart of summer. and amongst all the desserts, every last bite was gobbled up!

* i prefer to make the dough a day or so in advance; since it needs to chill and rest in the fridge for at least an hour, roll out, chill again, bake, and then cool, the prep time really adds up. you can even bake the crust a day ahead if needed. feel free to use your favorite tried-and-true, but i prefer all-butter crusts, which is what you'll find here.

for the crust {from rustic fruit desserts}: makes 2 pie/tart crusts
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 Tbsp evaporated cane juice {or sugar}
* 1 cup {2 sticks} cold unsalted butter
* 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
* 1/2 cup ice water {or more, as needed}
* 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar, and then place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to let it get very cold. {tip: at any point in the process, if the dough starts warming up, let it rest and chill in the freezer for several minutes and then resume. not sure why, but cold is good.}

Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to flour mixture, tossing to evenly coat. Using your hands {my preference}, pastry blender, or food processor, cut the butter into the mixture until the dough becomes coarse and crumbly. The butter should be pea-sized.

Combine the water and lemon juice, then drizzle about half of it over the dough, using a fork to combine. You want the dough to be "shaggy" - not very wet - but able to hold together when squeezed. Add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, as needed {I added all of the water + lemon juice}. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn the dough out on the surface. working gently, fold the dough over itself a few times until combined, avoiding overworking. divide the dough in half, shaping each half into a 1-in thick disk. wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. {storage: if wrapped well, the disks will keep in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months. just remove disk from freezer and let thaw overnight.}

after chilling, roll pastry dough out on a floured surface to fit 9" or 10" tart {or pie} pan. place it gently in the pan, and make sure to fill in any holes in the dough. let it chill for 30-60 minutes {see, i told you prep time is long}. preheat oven to 375. when ready to bake, cover tart pan with foil and use pie weights {or dried beans} and bake for 35-40 minutes. remove foil and weights, and bake for 10-15 more minutes. let cool before adding filling.

for the filling {adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant}
* 5 cups of the fruit {or combinations} of your choice, fresh or frozen, cut into bite-sized pieces. this time of year, i use yellow or white peaches, nectarines, and/or blueberries i froze earlier in the summer. tart cherries are also delicious.
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water.
* 2 Tbsp. water
* zest of one lemon {optional - really good with blueberries}

heat 2 cups of the fruit, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over med-low heat. stir occasionally and use your spoon to crush some of the fruit to release some of their juices. when the fruit has softened {5ish minutes}, add the cornstarch mixture. simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. if anything starts sticking, dial the heat back for a bit and stir well. turn the heat off and gently fold in the remaining fruit. pour the berry mixture into the baked tart shell. if you have more patience than me, let cool for an hour {it'll be easier to cut and serve, but i confess, you can't beat a scoop of ice cream over a still-wam slice}.

serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or dollop of fresh whipped cream. any leftovers will keep best covered in the refrigerator.

katie anne

* sad disclaimer: we cannot seem to find any pictures of the many tarts we've made, and as i mentioned, we didn't take any pictures at the housewarming party. trying to work on the photo-thing, i promise.

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